A growing number of countries are making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health care workers, and some are wondering why that’s not the case in Canada. France and Greece are two of the latest European countries to bring in rules that will ensure all health and long-term care workers are vaccinated, or otherwise face penalties. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases expert out of Toronto General Hospital, took to social media on Monday night saying that the new rules in those two countries make sense. “You can’t put the most vulnerable at risk,” said Bogoch in a tweet “If you’ve signed up to care for people, you can’t also voluntarily serve as a COVID-vector.” B.C. has previously said it was considering a mandate, however, no such order has been given. On July 8, the province announced further easing of restrictions at long-term care facilities, saying masks will not be required for fully-vaccinated visitors, and that unvaccinated staff members will still have to wear masks.

 

A Surrey-based sawmill company l is stepping up to help the Village of Lytton and the Lytton First Nation after a wildfire all but destroyed those communities. The fire on June 30 spread rapidly through the area forcing about 1,000 people to flee their homes, and leaving two people dead. Jack Gardner with the Teal Jones Group says the company is donating half-million board feet of lumber, which is enough to rebuild about 50 homes With mills located in the Fraser Valley and the Fraser Canyon, Gardner says the devastated communities are close to home for the company. Since the company announced the donation, Gardner says he’s been contacted by a trucking firm that wants to help with transport. Gardner says they don’t just plan to show up with a bunch of lumber — they want to make sure the donation is properly coordinated to support efforts to rebuild.

 

After hearing from West Beach business owners, White Rock council voted Monday (July 12) to stick to its commitment to end its one-way test of Marine Drive now that full indoor-dining capacity has been restored. Council voted 4-3 in favour of reopening the waterfront strip to two-way traffic no later than Aug. 7. The delay is due to the availability of the contractor to remove the barricades, which acting chief administrative officer Jim Gordon told council couldn’t begin until Aug. 3 at the earliest. Coun. Scott Kristjanson was among those opposed to ending the pilot, contending that council needed to respect its initial decision to embark on the one-way project until the end of September, and noting that businesses that choose to participate made “a large commitment” in doing so. Council also voted Monday – with Coun. David Chesney opposed – to conduct a survey of White Rock businesses and residents to collect data on the one-way experiment, for the use of a future council, should they choose to revisit it.

 

The Penelakut Tribe has confirmed more than 160 unmarked, undocumented graves at the site of a former residential school on their territory near Vancouver Island. The Kuper Island Indian Residential School, located off the coast of Cheamainus in the Southern Gulf Islands, operated between 1889 and 1975 and was run by the federal government and the Roman Catholic Church. The building was demolished in the 1980s and Kuper Island was renamed as Penelakut in 2010. The institution was known as “Canada’s Alcatraz” because of its remote location, and because of documented cases of children who died trying to escape. This comes after similar discoveries at other sites in B.C. and Saskatchewan. The commission identified the names or information of more than 4,100 children who died in the residential school system. However, the exact number remains unknown.

 

A state of local emergency has been issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen as one of the newest wildfires in B-C threatens 77 homes near the south Okanagan community of Okanagan Falls at the south end of Skaha Lake. Flames broke out yesterday just east of Skaha Lake and the B-C Wildfire Service says about 600 properties in the same area are on evacuation alert as the out-of-control blaze is now estimated at five square kilometres. The wildfire service says more than 300 active fires are currently burning, including one that has prompted an evacuation alert for the resort municipality of Sun Peaks, north of Kamloops, and evacuation orders for more than 100 nearby properties. Officials at Sun Peaks say the resort is closed today and they expect more information about the resort’s response will be released later in the day.

B.C. continues to report just a few dozen cases of COVID-19 per day, as the province nears 80 per cent of eligible people vaccinated with at least one dose. The province says there were 123 cases reported over the weekend. They include 46 new infections on Saturday, 47 on Sunday, and 30 on Monday There are 66 patients in the hospital, including 14 in the ICU. Those figures are down from Friday’s 73 and 19, respectively. The Interior Health region saw the most new cases over the weekend with 42. However, the Vancouver Coastal Health region has the most active cases with 257. The province notes the figures for new cases are provisional “due to a delayed data refresh.” There have been no deaths in the past three days. The province says 79.9 per cent of adults and 78.8 per cent of British Columbians aged 12 and up have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It adds 47.7 per cent of adults and 44.6 per cent of those aged 12 and up have received both doses.

 

Another heat warning has prompted the City of Kamloops to reopen a cooling centre in the local arena. Residents will be able to get respite from the high temperatures at the concourse of the Sandman Centre. A heat warning for Kamloops and the South Thompson watershed is issued when the mercury is forecast to hit 35 degrees Celsius and overnight lows are expected to be at least 18 degrees for a minimum of two days. The temperature is expected to reach 37 degrees today and tomorrow, and a high of 35 Celsius is expected on Thursday, with overnight lows of 18 degrees for three nights in a row.

 

Canada has passed the halfway point in COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 50 per cent of eligible Canadians at least 12 years old and up have now had their second jab. That means 16.9 million Canadians now have both required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

R-C-M-P say four people died in yesterday’s crane collapse at a condo tower in downtown Kelowna and a fifth person is missing and believed dead under the rubble. A news conference was held in Kelowna this morning to confirm four of the deaths involve workers at the construction site. RCMP Inspector Adam MacIntosh says they hope to recover the body of the fifth person in the rubble today, although the site first needs to be secured for the safety of searchers. Engineers are working to stabilize what remains of the crane and re-open evacuated areas of Kelowna’s downtown core — and police say some re-opening could happen by later today.

 

BC health officials announced 33 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 148,187. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 639 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 66 individuals are currently hospitalized, 14 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. New cases, as well as total active cases, broken down by health region are as follows:

  • Fraser Health: 10 new cases, 172 total active cases
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: Five new cases, 254 total active cases
  • Interior Health: 13 new cases, 155 total active cases
  • Northern Health: One new case, 27 total active cases
  • Island Health: Three new cases, 23 total active cases
  • Outside of Canada: One new case, eight total active cases

There have been no new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,760 deaths in British Columbia. To date, 79.1% of all eligible people 12 and over have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 5,805,541 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 2,130,031 of which are second doses. 145,775 people who tested positive have now recovered.

 

The nominations for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards have been announced. “The Crown” tied with “The Mandalorian” for the most nods with 24 each. The nominees for best comedy series include “black-ish”; “Cobra Kai”; “Emily in Paris”; “The Flight Attendant”; “Hacks”; “The Kominsky Method”; “PEN15”; and “Ted Lasso.” The nominees for outstanding variety talk series are : “Conan”; “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”; “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”; “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The Emmys will air on September 19th.